Green Room

Punked by Obama

posted at 8:07 am on August 6, 2009 by

This depressing feature article ran in the Washington Post Tuesday, preceding Obama’s campaign stop — what else can you call it? — in Elkhart, IN, on Wednesday. Writer Paul Schwartzman profiles a family that was never smart with money in the best of times, when the RV business was booming in Elkhart. Now they’re moving out of a rented mobile home they can no longer afford on their two unemployment checks and facing a move into the wife’s mother’s basement in another depressed area of the US. (I told you it was bad.)

If I were a journalist, I’d follow up with this family after Obama’s visit and ask them for their response to his speech. Excerpts:

The battle for America’s future will be fought and won in places like Elkhart and Detroit and Goshen and Pittsburgh, South Bend, Youngstown, in cities and towns across Indiana and across the Midwest and across the country that have been the backbone of America.

It will be won by making places like Elkhart what they once were and can be again, and that’s centers of innovation and entrepreneurship and ingenuity and opportunity, the bustling, whirring, humming engines of American prosperity.

For, as the world grows more competitive, we can’t afford to run the race at half strength or half speed.

If we hope to lead this century like we did the last century, we have to create the conditions and the opportunities for places like Elkhart to succeed. We have to harness the potential, the innovative and creative spirit that’s waiting to be awakened all across America.

That’s how we’ll rebuild this economy stronger than before, strong enough to compete in the global economy, strong enough to avoid the cycles of boom and bust that have wreaked so much havoc on our economy, strong enough to support the jobs of the 21st century, and strong enough to unleash prosperity for everybody, not just some.

Wow. Government spending will do all that, huh? “Avoid the cycles of boom and bust?” “Unleash prosperity for everybody, not just some”? It takes some serious nerve, or a complete reality-disconnect (socialist-style), to speak those words to people who are now measuring their time without jobs in years instead of weeks or months. Did the people of Elkhart feel used, patronized, or mocked by these remarks? Obama’s demagoguery just adds insult to their injuries.

Obama’s speech continues with more spin on the stimulus and fishy-sounding promises of relief by the passage of ObamaCare, which even if it did pass, and even if it were what Obama represents it to be, wouldn’t go into effect for years and would do exactly nothing for the struggling people in Elkhart.

He opted out of the town hall format, which can be awkward if it slips even slightly out of control, for this visit to Elkhart, and received occasional applause but no questions from the audience. Yes, there were mobs with signs along the route:

Many here are angry and uncertain. Along the roads of the downtown here, people waved American flags and took pictures. Some held up signs, including ones saying, “Stop Socialism.”

[. . .]

During his February visit to the area, Obama used a town hall forum to sell the public on what eventually became a $787 billion stimulus plan, which he said had worked to slow the nation’s steep economic decline. A report released last week showed the gross domestic product shrinking 1 percent over the past quarter, less than some economists expected.

Some call that good news and proof of success:

Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s chief of staff, said earlier this week the second-quarter growth figures released Friday showing a slowdown in the economic contraction “vindicated” the administration’s economic decisions since taking office, including stimulus spending, bank bailouts, help for cash-poor homeowners to pay mortgages, and intervention in the auto industry.

I can’t believe that the people of Elkhart are swallowing that.

In another WaPo article, this one about the Virginia governor’s race, in which the president’s performance is an awkwardly complicating factor for the Democrat Creigh Deeds, we read of a realtor who supported Obama but now feels some serious buyer’s remorse:

“He’s just not as advertised,” she said. “Nothing’s changed for the common guy. I feel like I’ve been punked.”

Another Virginian who supported Obama and voted for him “on the strength of his character” [oops!] is feeling some regrets:

“When he gave that [Inaugural] speech that day, I was in awe. I was really inspired and thought, ‘Wow, this is a guy who can do it,’ ” said Slater, a medical transcriptionist and mother of three.But she has been disturbed by the large Wall Street bonuses that Obama doesn’t seem to be able to halt and his inability to rein in credit card companies that raise rates even on those with good credit. Although she is trying to be patient, she said she is losing faith in the Democrats running Washington.

“Honestly, at this point, I have to say I’m worried. I haven’t come across one person that seems to have been helped,” she said. “If I don’t see a spark, a light at the end of the tunnel, I may be voting Republican [for governor].”

Liberal voters consistently object to the federal money given to banks and automakers on the grounds that government is helping the fat-cats instead of the little people. Conservatives object to the interference in the free market and to the government using bailouts to take over private business. Either way, no one but the government seems to like it.

Cross-posted here.

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…profiles a family that was never smart with money in the best of times…

I especially enjoyed the part where he turns $30 of his NASCAR gambling winning into piss.

“Here family – drink up some of my piss. I won’t be buying the medicine that may make me a teensy bit more employable, so I’ll gamble it on NASCAR and if I win, I get wasted and you can have my unemployed piss.”

ericdijon on August 6, 2009 at 7:00 PM

And I was trying to be so non-judgmental. Yes, that bothered me. The writer painted a picture of poor judgment and hopelessness. The man justified his drinking by saying it would keep him from going up into the bell tower with his rifle. What a mess. I felt very sorry for the two year old.

Pundette on August 6, 2009 at 7:48 PM

I as well feel sorry for them all, but poor judgement is entitled to no rewards. This is the demo that Ø preys upon and banks his next election upon. When the hypothetical journalist question [you suggest] is asked, the answer will be nothing less than siding toward entitlements. RV’s are not traded globally; their success is domestically dependant on the success of working and retiring stiffs that can afford the luxury of independent leisure. With a notoriously low fuel rating for the same number of bodies a Hyundi can fit, I wonder if the Ø brigade would tolerate the future or RVs.

btw: you were non-judgemental in your writing.

ericdijon on August 6, 2009 at 8:23 PM

“…strong enough to avoid the cycles of boom and bust that have wreaked so much havoc on our economy…”

Boom and bust is the way economies correct themselves. Ending boom and bust is an old-fashioned, hardline marxist cliche. There’s only one way to achieve it; a totalitarian state-controlled economy. The result is Soviet-style stagnation and decline.

modifiedcontent on August 7, 2009 at 12:30 AM

Boom and bust is the way economies correct themselves. Ending boom and bust is an old-fashioned, hardline marxist cliche. There’s only one way to achieve it; a totalitarian state-controlled economy. The result is Soviet-style stagnation and decline.

More evidence of his socialist heart.

Pundette on August 7, 2009 at 4:42 AM